Rowan’s Student University Programmers (SUP) brought six bands together in the Student Center Pit this past week, all with hopes to perform at Hollybash at the end of April.
This SUP event, co-sponsored by Rowan After Hours, had over 140 people in attendance, with bands competing in hopes to open Hollybash with alternative-rock group American Authors. Bands applied online to compete, providing samples of their music and were judged by their stage presence, quality and originality, according to SUP Director of Live Events Carly Samuels.
Hollybash is an outdoor festival organized by the Office of Student Activities scheduled for April 29. This free event is the first of its kind, showcasing a variety of different food trucks, carnival rides and other outdoor activities out on the Hollybush Green.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity this event provides to students,” Samuels said. “For some, this is their first time playing on a stage in front of a crowd. I think it is awesome that I get to play a part in providing this experience to a student that they might remember for a lifetime.”
This year’s battle of the bands hosted a diverse array of music, ranging from the thrash metal-influenced Midnite Hellion, the electronic stylings of Yaw Parna, the acoustic duo of the West Brothers to the pop-punk sounds of both Parting Ways and Final Warning. However one band — or rather, one man — stood out to both the judges and the crowd that night.
Steve Tedman, a freshman music major, performed by himself, armed with only an accordion, a small horn and a miniature drum by his side. Telling stories of his travels from Minnesota to Glassboro in one of his original songs “Where’s Rowan?” and of a past love interest from Bangladesh in “Hot Tamale, Sweet Bengali,” the polka music he performed instantly grabbed the crowd’s attention.
“I thought he was a really great act,” says freshman English major Nathaniel Brilliant. “I really enjoyed how he spoofed some stuff and how he was a one man band as opposed to a normal one.”
He closed his set with a rendition of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” “rickrolling” the crowd whilst simultaneously winning over the judges’ and audience’s favor.
“Steve — the accordion man — had my attention the entire time. As soon as I saw him take out the accordion, I knew it was going to be interesting,” says Devin Dromgoole, a junior biology major. “Overall, the event was a great opportunity to give Rowan musicians a chance to show off their talent. I think it also gave Rowan students who are passionate about music a chance to get involved in RAH.”
While both Final Warning and the West came in a tie for second place, the musicians that performed that night were still happy with how the show turned out – win or lose.
“It was a really fun show,” says Chris Ulyett, the guitarist for one of the runners-up, Final Warning. “The crowd was really great and definitely susceptible to our performance. People were really friendly and very interested in getting our music, so we were thrilled. . .I thought we put on a show that I’m proud of, we really gave it our all.”
Tedman mentioned his humble upbringings outside of the Garden State performing polka for the elderly at nursing homes in his hometown of Palo, Minnesota.
“I practice a lot, and when you get out on the stage, eventually you come to a time in your life where you don’t care what people think of you – we all go someday, I want to be as impressive as I can,” Tedman said, still shocked at his victory that night.
“It’s a little overwhelming, I’m a farm boy from Minnesota but I’m so excited and I’m so glad that this worked out tonight, it was a blast and a half to win.”
– Featured image: Here are the groups that placed in the Batttle of the Bands event that RAH held in the Student enter on the night of March 5, 2016. The winning act, Overpopulated, will play at Hollybash on April 29. Staff Photographer/Anthony Medina
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